TNC §4: Wilbur Dam Road to Dennis Cove Road

Tennessee-North Carolina §4 spans 13 miles. Parking is available for five mileposts.

Mp 0.0/13.0: Wilbur Dam Road

Locate: {36.32858, -82.11157}

Orient: The AT crosses Wilbur Dam Road in Iron Mountain Gap 9.2 mi southeast of US-19E at US 91 in Elizabethton. From US-19E: follow TN-91 north for 3.0 mi to right onto Blue Springs Road; follow Blue Springs Road for 0.9 mi straight onto Steel Bridge Road; follow Steel Bridge Road for 0.9 mi straight onto Wilbur Damn Road, at bridge over Watauga River; continue on Wilbur Damn Road for 4.4 mi to parking area on left. There is a sign for the AT on the west side of the road about 100 yd north of the parking area.

Park: Room for a half dozen cars in the wide and paved shoulder along the east side of the road; not signed. Overflow parking looks possible along the wide grass shoulder abutting the paved shoulder. The AT coincides with Wilbur Damns Road on a diagonal of about 75 yd. The parking area is at the southeast end of this diagonal, where the northbound footpath meets the road. At each end of the crossing, there are a few steps in the roadside embankment that mark the footpath.

Note: The Watauga Dam visitors center is 0.8 mi farther south along Wilbur Dam Road; restrooms, water, picnic tables.

Mp 4.2/8.8: US-321/TN-67

Locate: {36.30267, -82.12600}

Orient: The AT skirts the west end of the Shook Branch Picnic Grounds (Cherokee National Forest), on the southwest shore of Watauga Lake. The entrance is on US-321/TN-67 in Hampton 3.2 mi northeast of US-19E.

Park: Large USFS lot; fee, day-use only; restrooms, swimming beach.

Connect: Find AT at west end of lot.

Mp 4.3/8.7: US-321/TN-67

Locate: {36.30182, -82.12896}

Orient: The AT crosses US-321/TN-67 at Shook Branch Road, opposite the Shook Branch Picnic Grounds; see Mp 4.2/8.8, above.

Park: Room for 10 cars in pull-off on north side of US-321/TN-67, 100 yd west of AT at Shook Branch Road. Look for USFS sign "Cherokee National Forest".

Connect: Walk east on US-321/TN-67 for 100 yd to Shook Branch Road. For AT northbound, turn left onto grass and into picnic grounds. For AT southbound, turn right onto Shook Branch Road.

Mp 10.3/2.7: via Hampton Blueline Trail

Locate: {36.28576, -82.15220}

Orient: The Hampton Blueline Trail (USFS #501) connects the AT in Laurel Fork Gorge to US-321/TN-67 in Braemar 1.3 mi east of US-19E in Hampton.

Park: Room for a dozen cars in lot on south side of road; signed "Laurel Fork Trailhead".

Connect: Follow blue-blazed Hampton Blueline Trail for 1 mi to AT {36.28148, -82.14319}; signed. For AT northbound, turn left. For AT southbound, turn right.

Note: Hampton Blueline Trail may also be know as the Laurel Fork Trail.

Mp 13.0/0.0: Dennis Cove Road [FR-50]

Locate: {36.26423, -82.12316}

Orient: Dennis Cove Road branches southeast from US-321/TN-67 in Hampton 0.8 mi east of US-19E. The AT crosses Dennis Cove Road 4.0 mi southeast of US-321/TN-67.

Park: Room for a half dozen cars in pull-off on northeast side of road.